Green Friday

The chaos of Black Friday. Source:

Yesterday, someone I follow on Twitter sent out a tweet saying: “Don’t give Black Friday your Black Dollars!” It resonated with me because I’ve always witnessed Christmas, as an outsider non-Christian, as a time when Americans go a little bit crazy about buying stuff.

Now as it seems people are waking up from a 30-plus-year sleep believing that unregulated capitalism can keep us safe and happy, it is a perfect opportunity to take action and change the status quo.

Maybe instead of shopping on Black Friday and giving our hard-earned cash to the multinational corporations and institutions that are appealing to our American instinct to buy more stuff, we can savor the meaning of the prior day’s Thanksgiving and really feel thanks and blessings for all the richness we have in our lives.

By staying in and not giving in to the marketing machine and mobs and mayhem of Black Friday, we will also be giving Mother Nature a break. So this year, I’m calling the day after Thanksgiving “Green Friday.”

If we protest shopping and stay in to spend time with family and friends or just spend time reading a book, walking in the woods or around the neighborhood, if we protest spending any money unless absolutely necessary, we will be burning less fuel, sitting in fewer traffic jams, using less electricity and reducing our stress.

Green Friday will be a way for me to sit back, continue to digest the copious amount of food ingested the night before, relax, visit with friends, enjoy my family and — if the weather’s good enough– take a walk outside in the fresh air away from crowds, away from big box stores, and away from the consumeristic ideal that has swallowed the holiday of Christmas.

Will you join me?

P.S. Naomi Klein recently wrote about how those who deny climate change’s existence or, rather, humans’ contribution to climate change, believe that anti-capitalists have drummed up the science to promote socialism and squash American freedom. Read on here.


Turkey Time

I’m still full.

We had an early Thanksgiving dinner, and it’s been nearly 24 hours, and I am still full. The practice of over-stuffing our gullets became a short but worthwhile topic of conversation with our fellow eaters last night, wondering why such an American tradition revolves around eating so much we feel like we literally will explode.

This day is meant to be a feast, a day to break bread and enjoy the fruits of our labor.  However, our labor does not so much revolve around producing those fruits.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency fewer than 1 percent of the 285 million Americans claim farming as their occupation. That number has declined sharply from 1935 figures, which show more than 18 percent of the American population as farmers. Clearly, we are not spending much time in the fields these days. Yet we still eat like we were plowing and tilling and harvesting.

There’s a restaurant near our house whose theme is the American farm. Its breakfasts are named to reflect the hard labor exerted by certain farm workers and what sort of food is needed to sustain that work, such as “Light Chore Day”—two eggs any style with a side of potatoes and a side of either toast, biscuit or pancake—or the more calorie-laden “The Hired Man’s Breakfast”—two eggs any style, a choice of meat, plus the aforementioned side dishes of potatoes and bread product. Then there are other goodies like the “Pork Producer’s Breakfast,” laden with pork products, eggs and the side choices, and the “Cattleman’s Breakfast,” which comes with your choice of steak from 7 oz. to 16 oz., plus eggs and sides. The list goes on and on.

You probably will have guessed by now that the people eating these breakfasts are not farmers.

We have trained our bodies to take in enormous amounts of foods that we don’t need to sustain us. And I’m not even going to go into the kind of food that enters our system, because that’s too much to deal with in one sitting. It seems, though, that our Thanksgiving “feasts” are no more a break from normalcy than rush-hour traffic.

Perhaps when we sit around to Thanksgiving dinner and acknowledge what we are “thankful” for, is that our bodies are not static and our bellies will not explode.

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